Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Kanaan keeps Andretti Autosport on upswing 2. Firestone Indy Lights title fight heats up after Iowa event 3. Vote for Tire-ific Move of the Race 1. Kanaan keeps...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Kanaan keeps Andretti Autosport on upswing
2. Firestone Indy Lights title fight heats up after Iowa event
3. Vote for Tire-ific Move of the Race
1. Kanaan keeps Andretti Autosport on upswing: It wasn't a rain-shortened race. It wasn't a fuel-strategy race. It was Tony Kanaan driving to the front from the 15th starting spot, which put the Team 7-Eleven car in position to win the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer.
That he did (becoming the seventh different driver to win in the eight races), and spectators and IZOD IndyCar Series drivers alike exited the tidy facility buzzing about the entertaining race punctuated by an event-record 16 lead changes among seven drivers.
"Wow, what a wild race," said Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who followed up his Texas victory with a fourth place.
Kanaan awoke on the first day of summer with a more positive mind-set than on race day. His first victory since June 28, 2008, at Richmond International Raceway, moving up two spots to sixth in the championship standings and seeing the continued resurgence of Andretti Autosport would brighten one's day.
During the four oval race package that concluded at the .875-mile Iowa Speedway, the four Andretti Autosport drivers combined posted 11 top-10 finishes, and three improved their position in the standings.
"It's a long way to go, but when I said all along this year that we were better than last year a lot of people twisted their noses and didn't believe it but we are," said Kanaan, who won for the 14th time in the series. "We got to keep working on it and we have now a few road and street courses coming up, which we were really strong in, and we're there."
Five road/street/airport circuits are up next, commencing with the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on July 2-4, before for the closing set of 1.5-mile ovals. Andretti Autosport recorded a victory at Long Beach (Ryan Hunter-Reay) and Kanaan posted a top 10 in each of the four street/road course events early in the season. The team is scheduled to add Adam Carroll to the lineup for the Watkins Glen International race weekend.
"I think we got to keep digging, and we still not up there yet, we're still not at the place that I want us to be as far as a team," Kanaan said. "But all we can do is get our heads together and keep working on it."
2. Firestone Indy Lights title fight heats up after Iowa event: The key to success during the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season has been limiting mistakes.
Through five races, the driver who has a nearly flawless race weekend usually walked away with the winner's trophy.
That pattern held true at Iowa Speedway as Colombian Sebastian Saavedra scored his first with of 2010 with a dominating performance on the .875-mile oval.
Saavedra improved to fourth in the championship standings and pulled him within 32 points of series point leader J.K. Vernay. Saavedra is just nine points out of second- currently held by Charlie Kimball.
"I couldn't have asked for anything better because our car was great all week long," said Saavedra, who became the fourth winner in five races. "Last year, we had some bad luck here in Iowa, and this year everything came true and I'm happy about it. "
While Saavedra may have won the race, the biggest beneficiary at Iowa may have been Vernay, who rebounded from a disappointing result at Indianapolis with a third-place finish. Vernay's fourth podium of the season put some distance between him and Kimball in the season-long race for the Firestone Firehawk Cup.
"It's a good weekend for the championship," said Vernay, who leads Kimball by 23 points. "I finished 13th at Indy, and now I can (gain) points on them. We have to be focused like that to the end of the championship. The goal is to fight for the title and to win the championship, For sure, we cannot win every race; we have to be focused and be smart until the end of the year."
And limiting mistakes could be critical when it comes down to the final point standings, especially with a stretch of four races over six weeks kicking off with the Corning 100 at Watkins Glen International on July 4.
"Usually, there are two guys who separate themselves from the pack and duel it out for the championship," said Martin Plowman, who finished a career-best second at Iowa. "This year, there are four or five guys who can win every weekend, and you never know who the favorite to win is until race day.
"You just have to get it right the whole race weekend, from practice to qualifying to the race. That level of competition proves that the series is going in the right direction."
3. Vote for Tire-ific Move of the Race: Fans select the Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race winner by voting on indycar.com after every race. This $10,000 prize is awarded to the driver best utilizing his or her Firestone tires to make a bold, dramatic move during the event.
Nominees for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer are: Tony Kanaan for the pass for the lead in Turn 3 of Lap 140; Marco Andretti for an intricate pass for the lead in traffic on Lap 35 and E.J. Viso for advancing from 19th to finish a career-best third.
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues July 4 with the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Corning 100 on July 4 at the Iowa Speedway.